Government’s Brexit negotiation strategy lacks ambition – Donnelly

Published on: 03 May 2017

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Stephen Donnelly TD says he is underwhelmed following the unveiling of the Government’s strategy for the Brexit negotiations.

Deputy Donnelly pointed out that the document mainly restates work undertaken to date and explores already agreed negotiating positions.

“The publication of this document was greatly anticipated as people genuinely believed that the Government would set out new information regarding its strategy for the negotiations. However people will be disappointed as the document merely restates much of the information contained in Budget 2017. The document is a decent ‘introduction to Brexit’ but overall it contains little of substance,” said Deputy Donnelly.

“The document lacks political vision, direction and ambition. It seems many in Fine Gael are more interested in focusing on the internal leadership wrangling rather than focusing on setting out a comprehensive framework for the Brexit negotiations. There needs to be a much greater focus on setting out how exactly the Government intends assisting farmers and businesses in overcoming the challenges associated with Brexit. The document is scant on detail when it comes to explaining how exactly the Government intends on protecting Irish jobs.

“It’s also disappointing that the Government failed to publish this document prior to the Dáil debate on Brexit. The Government’s lack of transparency is in stark contrast to the EU’s openness on its Brexit negotiations. This document lays out Ireland’s underlying positions on the negotiations and accordingly a draft should have been made available to the public and Oireachtas for debate before the final guidelines were agreed by the EU Council. It’s deeply disappointing that the Government decided to wait until after the Dáil debate before publishing the document. This indicates that the Government lacks confidence in its own negotiation strategy.

“The Government had the opportunity to publish an ambitious political strategy containing clear goals, targets, milestones and funding commitments. Instead we got a document that’s really just a technical note which merely restates much of what we already know. The Government needs to up its game and do much more to engage directly with Irish farmers and businesses, particularly on areas such as currently hedging, online trading, market diversification, credit access and supply chain analysis.”

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